The ick factor


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Samantha: What's French for "ick"?
Miranda: Eeck.

Yesterday I heard one of my friends talking about her boyfriend in the most fascinating way. I love hearing about my friends’ feelings when they are in love. I find myself envying their enthusiasm as well as I am getting “the ick” feeling, also called “the ick factor” in SATC.

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. How some girls define themselves by how well their relationships are going. I personally find that very sad, seeing we are the ones talking about gender equality all the time. I don’t see guys sitting around thinking that they have failed because their relationships aren’t going that great or the relationship they find themselves in is not flawless. Why do we girls then feel that it is our duty to bear this responsibility? I have always lived by the rule that one should not depend on anything. I’ve based this idea on the Buddhist way of thinking where a person becomes weak and vulnerable the second she starts to depend on something or somebody. Depending on someone else means after all that you are not enough alone.

As I said, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Also about whom we are and who we become in relationships. I admire the persons that are able to stay as themselves even in relationships. I think there are always winners and losers in relationships; there is a constant battle going on. The trick is to find a golden middle way where both partners change some aspects of themselves but still stay true to who they are.

I see a lot of couples where one of the two changes a lot while the other one stays the same, and I always find myself questioning if that is a good or bad thing. It is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe the one changing hasn’t been in many relationships and therefore is not only changing to be with one person, but to be with any person. We must remember that there is a difference between being single and in a relationship. I wouldn’t say that a relationship changes you, but it might change the way you look at life and force you to reform your priorities.

Even though I said it might not be negative to change, there are some negative changes too. Those are the ones where a person’s personality gets lost in the drift of the relationship. I have seen whole personalities changing and somewhat disappearing because of relationships.

I’ve noticed that how we look at the internal relational roles depend in some extent on where we were raised and on what values. Surprisingly people from cities seem to believe in equality more than people from the countryside. I guess the traditional division of home duties has formed these hidden values, but I find it surprising that in year 2009 they still exist among people of my age. These are not the values of my parents’ generation. In some amount it has to have to do with how much women are able to do by themselves in the places where they live. In the cities women are able to move and function perfectly with or without men. We have a lot of activities for both genders and I don’t think that women pay as much attention to their relational status as if they would live in the countryside. I have always believed in strong women with great personalities. I believe that relationships should not be the base of how you see yourself. A relationship is a bond between two independent persons.

Recently I read an article about two couples that are in the twenties and have been together for already 13 years. In the article they were talking about the fact that nowadays people find their relationships exceptional, unordinary and almost hand to grip. A lot of their friends have not told them to their faces, but implied that it would be good to experience relationships even with other persons.

I personally do not know what is the perfect age to find a partner for life. Partially thanks to my parents, I have realized that there is nothing wrong with finding a partner in a young age. Their marriage showed me many things, and the way my mother still speaks about my father even though they are no longer married, shows great affection and respect for the other one. The conclusion of their marriage on the other hand shows me that there are always circumstances in which it is unbearable to continue a relationship, in this case a marriage.

And that is why when I hear one of my friends saying that she thinks she’s found “the one”, I get “the ick”. Not because it is a terrible thing; being in love is wonderful and I respect their relationship. It’s more because we never know what changes lies ahead and I don’t believe it’s healthy to rely that much on just one other person. It was just the other day that I heard somebody say that it is impossible to get everything you want out of a husband, and that is why you have friends. What a person can’t share with a partner, one share with friends. I liked that thought.

I’ve been thinking about my own values too. Every time we hear something we do not agree with, we realize our own opinions. I like analyzing my reactions because as all the people that know me know, I am an honest person and my first reaction to things is usually the most honest one. It might not be my definite and final opinion because sometimes I base my opinions on facts I don’t know well enough. But nevertheless, it shows what I think - in that moment.

Today I found myself telling a friend that I hate stable relationships in the sense that if a relationship is too secure, rigid and unchanging, in my mind it becomes somewhat boring. I am not always secure, and I am definitely not unchanging and therefore my relationships can’t be like that. I mirror myself in other people and question myself all the time. I put myself in new situations to know myself better. I love discussing current affairs and matters that concern me, and since I get involved in so much, I find myself growing and constantly developing. I know a lot of my friends are happy with their life here in Finland, and why shouldn’t they be?

Some of them are satisfied with what they’ve got and with who they are. Unfortunately, it’s not like that for me. When I have been living abroad, I have actually been living there, not just been there on a long vacation constantly thinking about Finland. I have built up a reality for me there and I have been happy and satisfied.

Therefore it would be a lie to say that I couldn’t be happy somewhere else. I’m Finnish, that’s a part of my identity, but wherever I go, my identity follows me along so I don’t have to be afraid of moving. My characteristics as a Finn are built in me, almost comparable to my skin. I know I will always return to the safe shores of Helsinki because I have a deep love for this city and the opportunities I believe it has to offer me, but this is the time I need to realize myself. I want to see other realities in order to develop my own. I don’t want to base my opinions on assumptions, but facts.

I find it funny how some people think that relationships are comparable. I believe relationships are as comparable as persons. Since every person has different personality features and a unique background, they do not share personalities and therefore not relationship patterns. I understand that it might be tempting to imagine your friends being in the same situation as yourself because it brings a certain feeling of security. That doesn’t mean that it is possible. One cannot hurry other to have feelings and experience the same security and ease in relationships as another person. Everyone goes their own path and one cannot ask for help in finding one’s own.

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